Written Parliamentary Questions

Here you can see Andrews Written Parliamentary questions along with the answers he's received. 

 

Asked 16 June 2020

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Offshore Industry: Coronavirus

What steps his Department is taking to support the oil and gas sector.

 

Answered by Kwasi Kwarteng 16 June 2020

I have been in almost daily contact with the sector to support them through this crisis. Last week I attended the Oil and Gas Authority’s Maximising Economic Recovery Forum with industry leaders to discuss the challenges posed by COVID-19, and the sector’s recovery.

We have also committed to delivering an oil and gas Sector Deal during this Parliament.

 

Asked 9 June 2020

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Iran: Arms Trade

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what mechanisms are in place to prevent the UN conventional arms embargo on Iran from expiring in October 2020.

 

Answered by James Cleverly 17 June 2020

The UK remains committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), a reciprocal deal that lifts sanctions in exchange for tough nuclear limits. Iran has broken the nuclear limits in the JCPoA and we are working to bring Iran back into compliance through the deal's Dispute Resolution Mechanism.

UNSCR 2231, which underpins the JCPoA, includes a number of clauses designed to allow sanctions to expire on fixed dates: the UN conventional arms embargo is due to expire in October 2020. We are consulting partners on the implications of the expiry of the UN arms embargo for Iran and wider regional security. We note that other sanctions regimes will remain in force, such as UNSCRs 1540, 1701, and 2216 which prohibit the proliferation of weapons to Lebanese Hizballah and the Houthis. The UK encourages all states to implement national export control best practice in support of these regimes. The EU arms embargo and UN ballistic missile restrictions on Iran will also remain in place until 2023.

 

Asked 3 June 2020

Scotland Office

Fisheries: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps his Department has taken with other Government Departments to develop UK fishing policy for when the transition period ends.

 

Answered by David Duguid 12 June 2020

Under the devolution settlement, fisheries policy is largely a devolved matter, however, I and my Department are in regular contact with Defra and other government departments to ensure that Scottish fishing interests have been and continue to be clearly represented. The Transition Period will not be extended. At the end of this year, for the first time in 40 years, we will be free to decide who can access our waters and on what terms.

 

 

Asked 3 June 2020

Scotland Office

Fisheries: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps officials in his Department have taken with officials in (a) other Government departments and (b) the Scottish Government to ensure that Fisheries Protection Scotland is fully prepared to prevent illegal incursions into UK waters around Scotland after the UK has left the Common Fisheries Policy.

 

Answered by David Duguid 12 June 2020

Fisheries protection and enforcement is a devolved matter in Scotland but the UK Government is very aware that its effectiveness is dependent upon close cooperation between the fisheries protection and other maritime security functions of the UK Government, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the NI Executive. Officials in the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland have helped facilitate that close cooperation.

 

Asked 3 June 2020

Scotland Office

Armed Forces: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions his Department has had with the Ministry of Defence on ensuring there is no further reduction of the military footprint in Scotland.

 

Answered by Alister Jack 12 June 2020

I and my officials are in regular contact with the Ministry of Defence to discuss the military footprint in Scotland. I am pleased that RAF Lossiemouth and Faslane are collectively receiving around £1.5bn of investment which demonstrates the UK Government’s long term commitment to having a significant military presence in Scotland.

 

 

Asked 3 June 2020

Treasury

Self-employment Income Support Scheme: Directors

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including directors of small and medium limited companies who draw their income through dividends in eligibility for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.

 

Answered by Jesse Norman 9 June 2020

Those who pay themselves a salary through their own company are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). The CJRS is available to employers, including owner-managers, and individuals paying themselves a salary through a PAYE scheme are eligible. Where furloughed directors, including companies with a sole director, need to carry out particular duties to fulfil their statutory obligations, they may do so provided it is no more than would reasonably be judged necessary for that purpose.

Dividends are not covered by the CJRS or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Income from dividends is a return on investment in the company, rather than wages. Under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity.

The Government has worked with stakeholders and carefully considered the case for providing a new system for those who pay themselves through dividends. However, targeting additional support for those who pay their wages via dividends is much more complex than existing income support schemes. Unlike announced support schemes, which use information HMRC already holds, it would require owner-managers to make a claim and submit information that HMRC could not efficiently or consistently verify to ensure payments were made to eligible companies, for eligible activity.

The Government has heard the suggestion made that HMRC could adopt a ‘pay now, claw back later’ approach. However, such an approach would be highly resource-intensive to ensure appropriate compliance, and there is a high risk that incorrect or fraudulent payments could not be recovered, ultimately at the cost of UK taxpayers.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has said there will be no further extension or changes to the SEISS or CJRS. However, other support is available. The CJRS and SEISS continue to be just two elements of a comprehensive package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. More information about the full range of business support measures is available at www.gov.uk/government/collections/financial-support-for-businesses-during-coronavirus-covid-19.

 

 

Asked 3 June 2020

Scotland Office

Offshore Industry: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps his Department has taken with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to progress the Oil and Gas Sector Deal.

 

Answered by Alister Jack 8 June 2020

My Department works closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on a range of issues in support of the oil and gas sector in Scotland.

The oil and gas industry is important to our economy, energy security and jobs. That is reflected in the Conservative Manifesto commitment of 2019 to work with the sector on a transformational sector deal.

Discussions around an offshore oil and gas industry Sector Deal are ongoing and will build on Government’s existing extensive engagement with the sector.

While there is no formal timescale for concluding a sector deal we recognise the challenges facing the sector from the collapse of the oil price and the operational challenges posed by COVID-19. The sector deal has the potential to play an important role in the recovery of the sector. This is a whole of Government approach and my Department will be appropriately involved in the process.

 

 

Asked 3 June 2020

Scotland Office

Offshore Industry: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what steps his Department has taken with the (a) Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and (b) the oil and gas sector on supporting that sector to recover from the effects of the covid-19 outbreak.

 

Answered by Alister Jack 8 June 2020

My Department works closely with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on a range of issues in support of the oil and gas sector in Scotland.

Government continue to engage extensively with business across all sectors including oil and gas and are aware of the significant challenges faced by the oil and gas industry and many other sectors during this pandemic. In recognition of those challenges, Government has announced an unprecedented package of support for business and workers to protect them against the current economic emergency.

My Department and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy have regular contact with OGUK and the oil and gas industry to understand current challenges and continue to work with them to consider what further support UK Government can provide.

 

Asked 22 April 2020:

Ministry of Justice

Electronic Tagging: Coronavirus

To ask Secretary of State for Justice, what procedures are in place for tagging offenders by police services in England and Wales during the covid-19 outbreak.

 

Answered by Lucy Frazer (1 May 2020):

The MOJ has no procedures in place for offenders to be tagged by police services during the covid-19 outbreak. The tagging of offenders released from custody as a requirement of a licence or subject to court imposed electronic monitoring is carried out by the Electronic Monitoring Service (EMS) not by police services during the covid-19 outbreak or otherwise. EMS is continuing to fulfil all the tagging requirements that it is responsible for and its staff have been designated key workers as their work is essential to the running of the justice system.

Those being released under the End of Custody Temporary Release scheme, which has been established for low-risk offenders within two months of release, as part of the national plan to protect the NHS and save lives, are being fitted with a GPS tag on release and are subject to conditions requiring them to adhere to a curfew and the Government’s Covid-19 measures.

 

Asked 21 February 2020:

Treasury

Revenue and Customs: Staff

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether HMRC staff employed in offices undergoing closure as part of departmental restructuring will be entitled to the full 21 months compensation despite delays in those closures.

 

Answered by Jesse Norman 2 March 2020:

All exit schemes in Government departments must be launched using the Government’s Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) terms in place at that time. The current CSCS terms are capped at a maximum of 21 months’ pay for those aged under 60 and a maximum of 6 months’ pay for those aged 60 or over.

In September 2017, the Government launched a consultation which proposed changes to the current 2010 CSCS, in line with the HM Treasury framework for exit schemes across the public sector. The Cabinet Office has recently confirmed an extension to the 2010 terms until 31 March 2020 which guarantees those terms for anyone who signs up to an exit package by that date.

HMRC continue to work closely with the Cabinet Office on the progress of the consultation and will continue to do so in order to seek to provide clarity for those people affected by HMRC’s transformation programme. The progress of the consultation is reviewed regularly and at this time, it is not known what the changes may be, or if and when they will be introduced.

For HMRC, exits are always a last resort and HMRC are committed to looking for redeployment opportunities and supporting people to find other roles in the Civil Service. In line with the 2016 Cabinet Office Redundancy Protocols, an exit scheme will only be considered once other options have been exhausted and there is no alternative.

 

Asked on 7 February 2020:

Ministry of Justice

Counter-terrorism

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what plans his Department has to restructure the counter-terrorism programme.

 

Answered by Lucy Frazer on 17 February 2020:

Following the two recent attacks at Fishmongers’ Hall and HMP Whitemoor, the Government announced a package of funding and legislative changes, including major investment in counter terrorism resources in prisons and probation, which is overseen by the Joint Extremism Unit (JEXU) a joint Home Office and Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation (HMPPS) unit.

The package of measures include:

  • Tougher sentences for the most serious terrorist offenders, which will mean dangerous terrorist offenders who receive extended determinate sentences serve their entire sentence
  • Doubling the number of Counter-Terrorism specialist probation staff. These specially trained staff will deliver a set of new, intensive national standards for managing terrorists on licence;
  • These new standards will mean terrorists are subjected to closer monitoring and reporting requirements.
  • An increase in the resources dedicated to training front-line prison and probation staff and;
  • The introduction of polygraph testing.
  • An independent review of our Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

Following the attack on 2 February in Streatham, the government announced emergency legislation to ensure an end to terrorist offenders getting released automatically, having served half of their sentence with no check or review.

 

Asked on 7 February 2020:

Home Office

Terrorism: Surveillance

To ask the Secretary of State for Secretary of State for the Home Department, what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of full surveillance of a convicted terrorist after release from prison.

 

Answered by James Brokenshire 26 June 2020

 

For security reasons we do not disclose the breakdown of counter-terrorism police funding for specific capabilities.

The Government is committed to supporting our superb police, security and intelligence agencies, who work round the clock to keep us safe.

That is why the Government increased resources to the intelligence community in the 2015 Spending Review. By 2021, the security and intelligence agencies will have invested an additional £2.5bn in their capability to deliver against national security priorities.

 

 

Asked on 31 January 2020:

Department for International Trade

Whisky: Origin Marking

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, if she will make it her Department's policy to protect the Protected Geographical Indicative Status of Scotch Whisky in future trade negotiations.

 

Answered by Conor Burns 10 February 2020:

The UK government recognises the economic and cultural importance of Geographical Indications (GIs), including Scotch Whisky, and remains committed to ensuring consistent protection.

Work is on-going with global trading partners to transition EU free trade agreements and other sectoral agreements including obligations on the recognition and protection of GIs. Department for International Trade officials have been working very closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, which leads on geographical indications, to ensure that trade negotiations reflect the importance of GIs to the UK.

 

Asked on 28 January 2020:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

EU Agriculture and Fisheries Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department will (a) represent the UK at the annual European Fisheries Council in December 2020 and (b) conduct negotiations on behalf of the UK for the 2021 quota allocation.

 

Answered by George Eustice 5 February 2020:

The UK left the EU on 31 January and will therefore not participate in the European Fisheries Council in December 2020 as a Member State. The UK will be undertaking future fisheries negotiations, including on fishing opportunities, as an independent coastal State.

 

Asked on 28 January 2020:

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Fisheries: Finance

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what progress he has made on introducing a replacement to the European Maritime and Fisheries Funding after December 2020.

 

Answered by George Eustice 4 February 2020:

We made a commitment in our manifesto to maintain funding for fisheries across the UK’s nations throughout the Parliament and to support the regeneration of our coastal communities.

Last year, the Government provided an extra £37 million of domestic funding for the sector, which will be available until 2022. England’s share of this funding is available via the Maritime and Fisheries Fund, which was opened in October 2019. Scotland was allocated £16.7 million, and delivery will be managed by Marine Scotland.

The Fisheries Bill will provide England and the devolved administrations with new domestic grant making powers that will ensure we have sufficient powers to support our future priorities. Fisheries is a devolved matter and, in future, grant schemes will be developed by each of the devolved administrations targeted towards their own national priorities.

We have been evaluating the current EMFF scheme and the needs of the sector. We have conducted social, environmental and economic evaluations to better understand the sector’s needs and where funding should be targeted.

We plan to hold a formal consultation exercise on the design of a future scheme in 2020.

 

 

 

 

Asked on 28 January 2020:

Home Office

Fisheries: Migrant Workers

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of establishing a Fisheries Workers Scheme, alongside the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme.

 

Answered by Kevin Foster 4 February 2020:

The UK Government will introduce a points-based immigration system that works in the interests of the whole of the United Kingdom. As part of this we will consider the needs of specific sectors and industries.

The Government commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on salary thresholds and how points could be awarded to prospective migrants under a new points-based immigration system. The MAC published its report on 28 January and the Government will consider carefully their findings and recommendations before setting out further detail in due course.

 

Asked on 27 January 2020:

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Iran: Aviation

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if the Government will initiate discussions at the UN Security Council on the implications for global security of the shooting down of Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 by Iran.

 

Answered by Dr Andrew Murrison 3 February 2020:

We were deeply saddened by the loss of life on Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, and offer our condolences to the families who lost loved ones. We want to see a full, transparent and swift investigation into the tragedy that is in line with international standards. The UK is working closely with Canada, Ukraine and our other international partners affected by this accident to ensure this happens. We do not currently plan to raise this at the United Nations Security Council.

The UK continues to call on all sides to de-escalate and reduce tensions in the region.

 

Asked on 22 January 2020:

Department for Transport

Transport: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what plans the Government has to improve transport connections between the North East of Scotland and the rest of the UK.

 

Answered by George Freeman 31 January 2020:

The UK Government recognises the social and economic importance of improving connectivity across all parts of the UK. Whilst responsibility for transport infrastructure in Scotland lies with the Scottish Government, where there are areas of cross-border interest, my ministerial colleagues and I remain keen to collaborate with our Scottish counterparts. For example, the Dundee PSO study on Carlisle to Edinburgh line. We always stand ready to work with Members to develop new links.

 

 

 

Asked on 23 January 2020:

Cabinet Office

Civil Servants: Scotland

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what plans there are to increase the number of civil service (a) jobs and (b) offices located in Scotland.

 

Answered by Jeremy Quin 30 January 2020:

The Government is clear that the administration of government needs to be less London-centric.

The Cabinet Office has established the Places for Growth programme to drive the necessary planning and preparation within departments and arm’s length bodies to relocate roles out of London into the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.

We want to ensure we are realising the potential of all four nations of the United Kingdom and delivering opportunity across the UK.
This includes Scotland, which will benefit from the relocation of Civil Service roles, for example the new government hubs being created in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

 

 

Asked on 21 January 2020:

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Offshore Industry

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what progress has been made on the oil and gas sector deal.

 

Answered by Kwasi Kwarteng 28 January 2020

The UK’s offshore oil and gas industry supports almost 300,000 jobs, of which four in ten are in Scotland. We believe that the North Sea oil and gas industry has a key role to play as we move to a Net Zero economy. We will support this transition with a transformational oil and gas Sector Deal. BEIS officials have already held preliminary discussions with industry to discuss how such a Sector Deal could enable the sector to play a leading role in the energy transition. Discussions will develop further over the next few months, as the process develops.

 

Asked on 22 January 2020:

Scotland Office

UK Shared Prosperity Fund: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland, what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on whether funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund will be available to local authorities in Scotland.

 

Answered by Mr Alister Jack 28 January 2020

Officials in my Department meet regularly with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) to discuss how the UK Shared Prosperity Fund can be designed to support local communities in Scotland. We have also run 5 stakeholder engagement events in Scotland in order to aid policy development, in partnership with MHCLG. Attendees of these events included representatives from COSLA and individual Scottish Local Authorities, as key beneficiaries of EU Structural Funds.

 

Asked on 22 January 2020:

Ministry of Defence

University Royal Naval Units: Scotland

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will review the decision to re-locate the East of Scotland Universities Royal Naval Unit from Aberdeen to Edinburgh.

 

Answered by Anne-Marie Trevelyan 28 January 2020:

A review of all University Royal Naval Units (URNUs) is being conducted by the Royal Navy to consider how the organisations are governed and managed, while examining the objectives of the URNU and the way they deliver the maritime experience. Geographical footprint will be considered as part of this review.

 

Asked on 16 January 2020:

Attorney General

Cybercrime: Prosecutions

What recent progress the CPS has made on tackling online crime.

 

Answered by Michael Ellis 16 January 2020:

The CPS is committed to robustly prosecuting online crime cases, including offline offences with online elements.

In December, the CPS successfully prosecuted three men who, via fake accounts on an online dating platform, met victims to inflict horrendous violent and homophobic abuse. The defendants received significant custodial sentences of between 15 and 17 years.

 

Asked on 9 January 2020:

Department for Work and Pensions

Occupational Pensions: West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, how many and what proportion of people in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency have (a) opted out after being auto-enrolled into a workplace pension and (b) saved more than the auto-enrolment minimum contribution.

 

Answered by Guy Opperman 13 January 2020:

Automatic enrolment has achieved a quiet revolution through getting employees into the habit of pension saving. It has reversed the decline in workplace pension participation seen in the decade prior to its introduction. Since automatic enrolment started in 2012 participation rates have been transformed with 87% of eligible employees saving into a workplace pension in 2018, up from 55% in 2012.

The Department does not hold data for individual constituencies in relation to opt outs or the number of individuals who have saved above the automatic enrolment minimum contribution level. However, we do know that overall around 9% of automatically enrolled workers have chosen to opt out which is significantly below original estimates; and our latest evaluation report shows that, in April 2017, approximately 5.9 million eligible employees were already meeting the April 2019 minimum contribution rates.

I am providing the following information about the impact of automatic enrolment in your constituency, as of November 2019.

In the West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine constituency, since 2012, approximately 10,000 eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled and 1,870 employers have met their duties.

Automatic Enrolment Evaluation Report 2018, available via the following weblink: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/764964/Automatic_Enrolment_Evaluation_Report_2018.pdf.

The Pensions Regulator’s data on Automatic enrolment declaration of compliance by constituency, available via the following weblink: https://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/en/document-library/research-an…